How do you DO fundraising planning anyway?
If you’ve never made a fundraising plan before, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are 6 principles of a good fundraising plan to get you started.
A good fundraising plan must have all of these things.
1. How we will raise it AKA the STRATEGY
So if you’ve learned that you’ve got money coming in from one source, but naturally you want to figure out which sources can be the most reliable and lucrative in years to come.
If you’d like to learn lots of different ways to raise money, check out my archives page to find different ways to raise money.
2. Dates (WHEN will this happen?)
The first part of a successful plan is figuring out WHAT you will do, but the second most important part is picking a date.
This is fairly easy to understand if you know the rhythms of the fundraising year: Year end appeals, your annual event, your spring appeal, your annual report due date, annual meeting of your membership if appropriate, volunteer thank-you events, monthly newsletters, and more.
3. Who is responsible (WHO will do it?)
This is just as important as what you will do or when you will do it. If you don’t write WHO is responsible, then it won’t get done. So, it can’t just be all on you. How will you get help with each of your fundraising tasks? Who will research grants for you? Who will edit your newsletter copy? Who will introduce you to potential major donors?
4. Amount we expect to raise AKA the GOAL
For example, you might want to pin all of your hopes on a big fundraising event that will supposedly raise you lots of money. Well, is this the first year you’ve done this event? You’re not going to raise as much as you want. Events are actually the worst way to raise money. They are a LOT of work. The best way to raise money? Asking people you know for money, face to face. This has a 50% chance of success. The next best way? Asking people you know for money on the phone. This has a 25% chance of success.
5. Amount it will cost to raise the money (How much does it cost?)
We did a fundraising dinner for a nonprofit I used to work for, it was a long-standing event, and though it made $250,000, it cost $30,000 to put on. We had built up relationships with sponsors over the years that made getting larger sponsorships easier, and our banquet hall charged quite a bit for the space and the servers, catering and decor. This didn’t include the time of the fundraising staff person or hired events consultant.
6. Net (Subtract cost from goal or actual amount raised)
This is fairly straightforward. Subtract the cost from what you actually made. It might be difficult to calculate the cost of your time, because often we work on events while we’re working on a few other projects, but if you start 6 months out from an event, for example, and work on the event a little bit each week, you’ll be able to track your time a bit more easily.
I have found that when you create a one-page fundraising plan and tack it up where you can see it, it shows your office and you, at a glance, what you’re working on, when you’re doing it, and who will help you.
Do you want to learn more about fundraising planning?